disco discharge (harmless records)

The significant resurgence of that predominantly American, black, and gay melting pot of funk, soul and gospel music, also known as Disco, has become ubiquitous. The sheer number of 12 inches released every week under the label ‘Re-Edits’ is unstoppable.

Continuously, during the last two years my own record collection has been flown with white labels and re-edits of songs which originals I have never listened to or heard of. Today, when this underground market and tradition seems to saturate itself, searching for the original is mandatory.

To draw similarities with other decades, and say that Disco is back because we are, apparently, going through harsh economical times is justified, but it seems a self-answering explanation. Rather, it seems more appropriate to argue that Disco is back because of technology. Advances in music software have procured new generations of musicians, artists, and DJ’s with endless possibilities to create new music where the only limit is imagination, and Disco with its vast amounts of records, both obscure and accessible, has been the genre chosen to be exploited once again. There are no spacial or financial restrictions. The ‘Re-Editor‘ does not even need musical training or knowledge about how to work with reel to reel tapes to extend the break. Now it has become democratic and affordable. You can create edits on your own laptop as well as a music studio. Although the quality of the music will vary, the tools are out there for everyone to grab and experiment.

After the flood of re-edits we have had over recent years, it looks like the market is ready for the ‘real thing’. Aided by articles published in papers like the Guardian, uncountable number of bloggers posting Disco rarities and b-sides, successful Disco themed nights around the globe, or even Budweiser ads telling us that the ‘Good Times’ are out there, Disco is enjoying a comeback without precedents. The proof of this resides in the number of Disco compilations that have been released recently; DJ History refreshed Tele Disco with a remix collection of modern retakes by cosmic producers; Horse Meat Disco compiled their floor-fillers on a great Double CD and excellent vinyl release; Dimitri From Paris commissioning the magnificent compendium of b-sides, instrumentals and dubs many times much better than their vocal versions  in Nightdubbin’ (on BBE) are just a few instances of this music phenomenon.

The latest addition to this trend is going to be ‘Disco Discharge‘ on Harmless Records, a mammoth collection of 8 compact-discs that will be hitting the shops on the 28th of September, it promises to be the king of all of them. Subdivided into four different variants of Disco with two CD’s dedicated to each (Classic Disco, Disco Ladies, Euro Disco and Gay Disco & Hi NRG), it offers no less than 84 disco tracks.

Compiled by Brightonian Disco devotee Mr. Pinks and with sleeve notes written by Alan Jones, co-author of the book Saturday Night Forever: The Story Of Disco, this series is for both the Disco aficionado and the newcomer. The greatness of it dwells in the versions chosen. All of them are full 12 inches or long album versions; no radio edits here. We get Macho’s ‘I Am a Man‘ in its full 17 minutes of glory, Fern Kinney’s ‘Groove Me‘ in all its splendor and beauty, and many others like Nona Hendrix’s ‘Keep It Confidential’, Amanda Lear’s ‘Blood & Honey’, and Sylvia Love’s ‘Extraterrestrial Lover’. There are also rare and sought after tracks including Gloria Jones (of Tainted Love fame), Bring On The Love (Why Can’t We Be Friends Again), Double Discovery’s ‘Thanks For Loving Me’, Free Enterprise’s ‘Make It On My Own’, Sylvia Love�s �Instant Love, Massara’s ‘Margharita’ (a monster of a track) and Boy Town Gang’s uncut full length version of ‘Cruisin’ The Streets’ clocking 13 minutes of disco narrative. A generous part of the disco spectrum is covered here -from classic, soulful philly sounds and diva vocals to italo, space and cosmic adventures in sound are all present.

‘Disco Discharge’ is a must have for those who regard Disco as something more serious than a wedding soundtrack, and those who want to learn where the original samples come from. This is a welcome Disco effort for a new generation of listeners (Like myself…) that were not around in the seventies and eighties and are eager to unearth a new world of sound that deserves to listened, appreciated and carefully studied.